Media Law handbook for Asians – online copy

» AIBD’s Media Law Handbook

When Prof Jane Kirtley came through KL earlier this month, she was careful to point out that her remarks on press freedom and freedom of speech were based on the US experience, and US constitutional guarantees of civil liberties.

As somewhat of an antidote, here is the AIBD Media Law Handbook, published last year by the Asia-Pacific Institute of Broadcasting Development (AIBD) based at Angkasapuri, Kuala Lumpur, with the support of Freidrich Ebert Stiftung. It was written by UK-based media lawyer Dr Venkat Iyer with Asians very much in mind. In his introduction he says:

It is intended as a first port of call for any media practitioner who wants an overview of the basic rules on such matters as defamation, contempt of court, copyright, official secrecy, individual privacy, and hate speech in the Asia-Pacific region…. It is seldom realised that sometimes all that is required for a journalist to avoid a legal pitfall is to make minor changes to his or her copy. For example, a change in nuance can often turn a potentially defamatory sentence to something that is legally innocuous. With this in mind, I have tried to keep the treatment of the various issues as practical as possible.

Dr Iyer also takes pains to point out, as did Prof Kirtley earlier, that the complexity of different legal systems throughout the region makes it difficult to generalise and derive universally-acceptable principles.

Nevertheless, every working journalists needs to be clear about what the law provides (or more importantly for our region, what the laws do not provide — the clearcut freedoms enunciated in the US First Amendment).

» Read the AIBD’s Media Law Handbook online…

Thanks to Pauline Leong of UTAR for the link.